The Woodstock train depot will reopen soon when a new cafe featuring gourmet coffees, sandwiches and to-go meals moves into the space.
Bryson Calvin, who owns Main Street PourHouse, plans to open Church St. Cafe by the end of July. The cafe at 90 Church St. will offer coffeehouse staples alongside unique homemade specialties and — with the help of his PourHouse kitchen about a half-block away — hot takeaway dinners.
The City Council approved a lease agreement at its June 20 meeting that calls for Calvin to pay $500 a month in rent beginning Aug. 1. The multi-year lease includes two three-year extensions, the first of which kicks in May 1, 2020.
Union Pacific Railroad owns the depot and has an agreement with the city that allows the council to sublet the building to tenants.
“I’m really excited about this, and I appreciate your investment,” Councilwoman Maureen Larson told Calvin at the council meeting. “I think your ideas of what to serve, and especially that idea of meals to take home, is something we don’t really have in town, and I think that could be a really popular addition.”
Most of the depot has been closed to commuters since Councilman Dan Hart shuttered his cafe, Centerville Station, in February 2016. Hart completed major renovations in the building and banked on liquor and video gambling revenue to bolster his business, but Union Pacific balked at those plans and said he couldn’t sell alcohol on its property or host gambling machines. Less than a year after it opened, Centerville Station closed.
Before that, a few different coffee shops opened and closed in the space between about 2008 and 2014.
Calvin and cafe manager Kim Doran think they can make Church St. Cafe a success by creating a community atmosphere that contrasts with corporate coffee chains, and by appealing to commuters and non-commuters alike.
“If you find a good spot that people are going to go to, then you’ll be successful. … When you see the foot-traffic of people taking the train and people walking by, there’s no reason a business can’t be successful over there if you offer them something that’s appealing,” Calvin said.
Doran, a longtime veteran of the restaurant industry and a self-avowed fan of the Food Network, said she’s excited about serving quirky dishes at the cafe. In addition to more standard fare, like paninis and wraps, she plans to offer a glazed doughnut with an all-beef hotdog and a sandwich featuring bacon jam, among other things.
“I’m all about creative menu items,” Doran said.
People who don’t want to cook after a long day will have the option to order family dinners to go from their smartphones and pick them up on their way home, she added. The dinners will be made at Main Street PourHouse and dropped off at the cafe.
Church St. Cafe also will host live entertainment and offer space for business meetings and other small gatherings, Calvin said.